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World-Information City Conference

Maison des métallos, 94 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud - 75011 Paris
May 30 - 31

Space is a social practice. Over the last decades, mobility – of people, goods, and information – across distances large and small has become an ever more salient aspect of a wide range of social practices. New technological regimes have been created to enable and control this movement and new practices are remaking urban spaces. As an effect, one and the same space might have vastly different characteristics depending on how people interface with the technical grid. This ranges from new ways of coordinating one's movements through space with the help of new mobile technology, to electronic tagging technologies to monitor and restrict the movement of people as a form of criminal punishment, to the construction of special access zones (where certain people can either not enter, or not leave) which create new areas of invisibility. Yet, there is also the promise of using the civic and participatory potential of the new technologies to re-connect people with the local places they live-in. The sociologist Manuel Castells speaks in this context of the re-ordering of the space of places through the space of flows. The analog logic of geography encounters the digital logic of communication networks as lived space turns into a mosaic of practices, sometimes intersecting, sometimes conflicting and often bypassing each other.

For the first time in world history a majority lives in cities but the cities' form itself is challenged and stratified into a grid of distinct sectors. Virtual and physical space increasingly fragments into fully global zones along intensely local spaces in a single geographic domain. Urban development is defined by the vectors of knowledge and power. Information in its social expressions manifests in physical environments, and in the shaping of urban spaces. Metropolitan architecture has to accommodate locations of the virtual and the new laboratories of the mind where humans and machines shape each other in the production of meaning.

World-Information City Paris 2009 is a two day conference that will focus on four major themes within the wide field of new urban geographies: First, it will focus on new theories to reframe the essential role played by mobilities of all kinds. They pose a major challenge to social and urban theories, which often remain implicitly static. Secondly, it will look at how global flows and local dynamics intersect and shape cities in particularly dynamic cases, such as Bangalore, India. Thirdly, it will investigate remaking of urban spaces through new forms of conflict and strategies of security. And in the final panel World-Information City will look at emerging patterns of distributed action in space and new approaches to map them.

Each of these themes will be addressed by two or more of the most outstanding thinkers followed by an open audience debate. A range of additional of workshops provides the opportunity to discuss some of these issues more in depth. High-level presentations and discussions will offer thoughts on urban transformations in a digitally networked world as a valuable resource to be consulted for a long time in the future.

Konrad Becker, Felix Stalder

Conference Day 1
Maison des métallos, 94 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud - 75011 Paris
Saturday, May 30


Conference Day 2
Maison des métallos, 94 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud - 75011 Paris
Sunday, May 31

World-Information City is a project of World-Information.Org/t0 for Futur en Seine in cooperation with Cap Digital, médialab Sciences Po, Orange Labs, supported by Maison des Métallos, Awdio, Bandits-Mages, Ellipse, Labomedia, the City of Paris and the Ile-de-France Region

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